ON APPEAL FROM MANCHESTER COUNTY COURT
MR RECORDER PARRINGTON
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE STANLEY BURNTON
LADY JUSTICE BLACK
| Mr David Ashley Pryor
|- and -
|The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police
Miss Francesca Whitelaw (instructed by Greater Manchester Police Authority) for the Respondent
Hearing date: 21st June 2011
Crown Copyright ©
LORD JUSTICE WARD:
The unfortunate concatenation of events
"12th July 2008
To Whom It May Concern.
I am the registered owner of the above vehicle.
I have this day loaned my vehicle to Tony Burton who has my full permission to drive the vehicle and I have inspected his Saga Motor Insurance Policy which covers him third party to drive my vehicle.
David A. Pryor"
"Provided the person driving holds a licence to drive the vehicle or has held and is not disqualified from holding or obtaining such a licence.
The policyholder may also drive with the consent of the owner of a motor car not owned by and not hired under a hire purchase or self-drive agreement to the policyholder. …"
It has a declaration signed by the Group Chief Executive of Saga Insurance Company Limited certifying that the policy to which the certificate related satisfied the relevant law applicable in Great Britain. On the sideline of the certificate the policy holder is informed:
"Your certificate gives evidence that you have insurance to comply with the law."
The statutory background
"143 Users of motor vehicles to be insured or secured against third party risks.
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Part of this Act—
(a) a person must not use a motor vehicle on a road or other public place unless there is in force in relation to the use of the vehicle by that person such a policy of insurance or such a security in respect of third party risks as complies with the requirements of this Part of this Act, and
(2) If a person acts in contravention of subsection (1) above he is guilty of an offence."
"147 (1) A policy of insurance shall be of no effect for the purposes of this Part of this Act unless and until there is delivered by the insurer to the person by whom the policy is effected a certificate (in this Part of this Act referred to as a "certificate of insurance") in the prescribed form and containing such particulars of any conditions subject to which the policy is issued and of any other matters as may be prescribed."
The relevant regulations were promulgated by the Motor Vehicles (Third Party Risks) Regulations 1972. Regulation 5 dealing with the issue of certificates provides:
"5(1) A company shall issue to every holder of a security or of a policy other than a covering note issued by the company:—
(a) in the case of a policy or security relating to one or more specified vehicles a certificate of insurance in Form A or a certificate of security in Form D in respect of each such vehicle;
(2) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this Regulation, where as respects third party risks a policy or security relating to a specified vehicle extends also to the driving by the holder of other motor vehicles, not being specified vehicles, the certificate may be in Form A or Form D, as the case may be, containing a statement in either case that the policy or security extends to such driving of other motor vehicles. …"
It is common ground that the Saga certificate produced by Mr Burton is in Form A and is a valid certificate of insurance.
"165 Power of constables to obtain names and addresses of drivers and others, and to require production of evidence of insurance or security and test certificates
(1) Any of the following persons—
(a) a person driving a motor vehicle (other than an invalid carriage) on a road, or
must, on being so required by a constable or vehicle examiner, give his name and address and the name and address of the owner of the vehicle and produce the following documents for examination.
(2) Those documents are—
(a) the relevant certificate of insurance or certificate of security (within the meaning of Part VI of this Act), or such other evidence that the vehicle is not or was not being driven in contravention of section 143 of this Act as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State,
(3) Subject to subsection (4) below, a person who fails to comply with a requirement under subsection (1) above is guilty of an offence.
165A Power to seize vehicles driven without licence or insurance
(1) Subsection (5) applies if any of the following conditions is satisfied.
(3) The second condition is that—
(a) a constable in uniform requires, under section 165, a person to produce evidence that a motor vehicle is not or was not being driven in contravention of section 143,
(b) the person fails to produce such evidence, and
(c) the constable has reasonable grounds for believing that the vehicle is or was being so driven.
(5) Where this subsection applies, the constable may—
(a) seize the vehicle in accordance with subsections (6) and (7) and remove it;
(6) Before seizing the motor vehicle, the constable must warn the person by whom it appears that the vehicle is or was being driven in contravention of section 87(1) or 143 that he will seize it—
(b) in a section 143 case, if the person does not provide him immediately with evidence that the vehicle is not or was not being driven in contravention of that section.
But the constable is not required to give such a warning if the circumstances make it impracticable for him to do so.
(9) In this section—
(b) a reference to evidence that a motor vehicle is not or was not being driven in contravention of section 143 is a reference to a document or other evidence within section 165(2)(a);
(c) … "
The judgment below
"Having been given that wrong information in the absence of confirmation from DVLA that Mr Pryor was the registered owner then I do not consider that the police acted unreasonably, I think they did have reasonable grounds for believing that the vehicle was being driven without insurance."
(1) A constable in uniform must require under section 165 that the driver produce evidence that the vehicle was not being driven in contravention of section 143. By virtue of 165A(9) the reference to that evidence is a reference to a document within section 165(2)(a), namely, "the relevant certificate of insurance". In summary the police constable must require the driver to produce the relevant certificate of insurance.
(2) The driver must fail to produce the relevant certificate.
(3) It is only then that the third element arises – the constable's reasonable grounds for believing that the vehicle was being driven in contravention of section 143. The Recorder, perhaps misled by the way the case was argued before him, fell into error in that, having found that Mr Burton was driving with consent and with insurance cover, he nevertheless rested his judgment on whether the police officers had reasonable grounds for believing that the vehicle was being driven without there being in force in relation to the use of the vehicle by the driver such a policy of insurance in respect of third party risks as complies with Part VI of the Act.
Lord Justice Stanley Burnton:
"(4) A person shall not be convicted of an offence under subsection (3) above by reason only of failure to produce any certificate or other evidence . . . if in proceedings against him for the offence he shows that—
(a) within seven days after the date on which the production of the certificate or other evidence was required it was produced at a police station that was specified by him at the time when its production was required, or
(b) it was produced there as soon as was reasonably practicable, or
(c) it was not reasonably practicable for it to be produced there before the day on which the proceedings were commenced,
Lady Justice Black: